April 24 2012, 4:20 am | Bill Elliff
It is tragic that we often do not cry out in prayer until we have exhausted all other possibilities. Mature believers advance beyond that in their love for intimacy with Christ, passion for people without Him, and faith that God can change things in their lives and others through prayer. But it is true that prayer is fueled by desperation.
In Luke 18, God recounts two stories that challenge us to increased prayer. First, the persistent widow who wore the unrighteous judge out so that he finally agreed to do what she asked. Jesus gave the following commentary on her persistence:
And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:7-8 ESV)
God is looking for people who will pray and not faint. The problem we have is not His unwillingness to answer, but our unwillingness to believe in incessant prayer. He indicates that He will "give justice to (persistent prayers) speedily" but then asks this question of us, "When He comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8) In other words, will He find you trusting Him? Looking to Him? Crying out to Him in dependency and expectancy? Will He (does He?) find you so overwhelmed by the needs around you and convinced of His faithfulness that you do not give up in prayer?
At the close of Luke 18 is the account of another desperate pray-er—a blind beggar. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he cried out for mercy. When other people tried to silence him he "cried out all the more” (verse 39). His desperation made him shameless. He must have thought that Jesus was his only hope. He must have believed that Jesus could actually change his life. He must have known that his opportunity was fleeting. Jesus hears cries like this and he described the blind man’s desperate cry with one word: “faith” (verse 42). When faced with external pressure to quit praying, this man increased his cry.
An African pastor recently said to one of my friends, “In our country, we did not cry out until there came destruction. I wonder when the American church will turn and cry out to God? Will it be at the point of desperation or destruction?”
God is looking for people of persistent, desperate faith. Faith is the key that unlocks the door and makes room for God, letting Him in the equation. And faith expresses itself in desperate cries. Prayer that will never give up. Prayer that cries out all the more.
Order Bill's books here including "The Child of 10,000 Names" and "WhiteWater".